||03-31-2003 07:17 PM
JKIII News on PC.IGN.COM!!
Well...it's basically what we already knew but oh well...just a bit more confirmation.
Looks like it really is indeed 60-70% done!! And real for that matter!
March 30, 2003 - German game magazine Gamestar's April issue comes loaded with goodness, namely the first published details and screens of a proper sequel to Jedi Outcast, a game we've only been able to mention officially since Activision's info-spilling financial conference call back in January. With this release of information in Gamestar, we too are now able to provide you with similar goodness.
Activision owns Raven. Raven developed Jedi Outcast. Activision mentioning Jedi Knight III in its conference call must have then meant that an Activision owned studio would again be responsible for the development of the sequel. Previously, it was either thought to be Raven or Gray Matter, of Wolfenstein fame. Early bets prior to the title's announcement were on Gray Matter, for Raven was known to have been entangled in the development of several other games, whereas the house that made us all Return to Castle Wolfenstein seemed to have a relatively open slate. Now, thanks to Gamestar and other information we've learned from various insiders, we can report that it appears Raven will indeed be heading up Jedi Knight III development.
Since the Wisconsin-based development house often shifts personnel to and from products as needed, it's hard to pin down exactly which team, or people (as is more accurate) will be developing Jedi Knight III. But, from what we know, a majority of those who worked on Elite Force and Jedi Outcast will be onboard, which is great considering both titles were developed in comparatively short times and launched without the need of twenty patches. The choice of developer is especially reassuring since Jedi Knight III is tentatively scheduled to ship this fall! Amazing, no? Again, reports from Gamestar, as well as information we've been able to obtain, seem to indicate the title is indeed on track for a release later this year and is indeed approximately 60 to 70% complete.
If you're observant, this will tell you a few things. For one, Jedi Knight III will retain a lot of what was put into Jedi Outcast. After all, rebuilding materials from scratch and doing new art and sounds for everything you're going to put in to a sequel, when what you already have from the original is still quality work, just doesn't make sense. Secondly, it will again be built off of Raven's heavily (I can't stress heavily enough) modified Quake III technology. Even without the power of DOOM behind it, expect even higher quality environments, better character models, and even more fluid animation than previous Quake III powered products provided.
But simple, expected technological improvements aren't where the coolness will end. Some years after the conclusion of Jedi Outcast, Kyle settles down with the main force-boy, Luke, to teach other would-be light saber wielders the ways of the force. Instead of Kyle, players will take on the role of a user-created knight in training. Similar to any given RPG, gamers will be able to customize their own character, but to exactly what extent beyond appearance is unknown. Options to personalize attire, physique, the saber itself, and even species (several are planned), will be included, but how the development of force powers will ultimately be instituted remains largely unseen. We do know that throughout the course of the as of yet undisclosed storyline players will be charged with eventually choosing the path of the light or the dark, and thus altering several missions accordingly. Since choosing a path is a focus of the game, it seems likely that not all of the powers will be made available to players. Pick the neck choke and maybe you'll go a little evil, you know?
Just because you're from the academy and picking force powers, doesn't mean you don't like to use the occasional pistol. The article in Gamestar notes that even more weapons than the original are being included, though the title will put a far greater emphasis on Jedi saber combat. Multiple saber variations (including two-fisted, double-edged, and possibly others) will be included. Additionally, the game's greater focus on Jedi action means a more robust supply of force powers to dish out punishment will be made available. If you can only choose a few, you might as well be able to choose from a larger pool, right?
Reportedly, some force abilities and attacks can even be used in conjunction with others, on an almost two-fisted akimbo basis. Chop and perform a force function at one time, or perform two force functions at once. It's your choice. It's unclear how this will ultimately play out, but Gamestar cites being able to throw one saber while continually playing with another... Perhaps a two-handed combat system similar to F.A.K.K. 2 is being considered?
Still miffed that it's using the Quake III engine, aren't you? Don't be, the time afforded the team for not having to contend with an entirely new, modified piece of technology has allowed them to include all you've read about above and still other, profoundly neat features... Similar to Mercenaries, or perhaps a scaled-down Freelancer, Jedi Knight III will include both standalone and plot progression required missions, which can be accepted or denied at the discretion of the player. While gallivanting across the universe to some unknown end, you may also be able to master a few vehicles. Don't think Battlefield just yet. Even though Gamestar mentions rumors of the title supporting seamless in-and-out vehicular multiplayer, we have not yet seen this (as awesome as that would be). With or without it, we can still say that Jedi Knight III will apparently allow us all to ride and pilot an assortment of vehicles -- Jedi Outcast has a little walker action, so this is expected.
That's a lot of good news to chew on... But what's the bad news?
Jedi Knight III may still be called "Star Wars - Dark Forces IV: Jedi Knight III - Jedi Outcast II: Insert Lame Subtitle Here." Now that's a name.
The planned fall release of the game leaves little room for an expansion to Jedi Outcast. Drat.
Three Star Wars titles are scheduled for release by the end of this year. We may see LucasArts hold one or more in order to provide the others an adequate, internal competition free launch window.
It's unknown whether console versions are in the works, but it is highly probable. Given this likeliness, one or more of the versions may be subject to delays as development is prioritized.
No DOOM III engine.
That's pretty much all we have now. Thanks again to Gamestar and those sources who stepped up to shed some light on a game everyone else on the face of the Earth has been tight-lipped about. And, if this is all an elaborate April Fools joke of some horrible kind, than I'll just roll over and kill myself immediately and be done with it, so don't bother with the hate mail.
If you speak German, or are just interested in Gamestar, please give the magazine a look.
-- Ivan Sulic